Paul an Apostle - RR275A1a
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission.|
I will come into Thy house in the multitude of Thy mercy. And in fear will I worship towards Thy holy temple. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight oh Lord my strength and my redeemer. Let us pray.
Our most good and gracious God and heavenly Father we come before you now as your children. We pray that You would teach us to be more obedient to you each day. We pray that You would teach us to do Thy will in every aspect of our lives. We thank You for the opportunity to gather together because of Your so great salvation. We pray that You would encourage us in Your work and Your service. We pray that You would make glad our hearts in our service to You. We pray for Your church everywhere that seeks to maintain faithfulness to you, especially those that are persecuted for Your sake. Bless those who are in the field even now. Seek ye to eleviate their distress and encourage them in their work. We ask that You would bless this time we have together in Your word, we ask this in our Savior Christ’s name, Amen.
Our scripture lesson this morning is Second Corinthians 1:1-11. Our subject: Paul an Apostle.
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:
2 Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.
8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;
11 Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.”
There are some important things to bear in mind as...
There are some important things to bear in mind as we begin the study of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. As soon as I was able to read I began to read the Bible from cover to cover. Over and over again, year in and year out. Many speak of the Bible as an inspiring book. But well we must say it is an inspired book it’s hardly inspiring. There are grim sad stretches of sad reading like Jeremiah and Lamentations. As I began to grow in maturity the most painful reading became Second Corinthians. That the great apostle should be treated so shabbily by the church was hardly promising to us lesser men. Much of the letter was painful for Paul to write and it is also painful for us to read. This is not to say that there are not marvelous and joyful passages in Second Corinthians, but all the same there are some very painful ones too. Paul’s letter to the Philippians is a happy and cordial and he began that letter ‘Paul and Timothius, the servants of Jesus Christ’. But he begins First Corinthians ‘Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ’ and Second Corinthians ‘Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ’. This is very interesting. In his letter to a fine group of Christians who were living happily in the faith he speaks of himself as a servant but he invokes his authority as a special embassary of the great King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The letter goes out under Timothy’s name also. So even though it is written by Paul himself he invokes a double authority. The letter is about two things, basically, a great deal more but one of these is the glory of God, the other is the reputation of Paul, and he feels very definitely that the two are tied together. [00:08:58]
He has been the faithful servant of Jesus Christ and...
He has been the faithful servant of Jesus Christ and to impugn him is to impugn Him that sent him. In verse two Paul’s greetings speak of the gift of grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is Lord, ‘kurios’ in the Greek text. Now, that’s a very, very important term to apply to Jesus. In the Septuagint, that is the Greek version of the Old Testament, the translation from Hebrew into Greek, the word kurios, k-u-r-i-o-s, is used to translated Jehovah or Yahweh. So that Jesus is closely, clearly, plainly presented as God Incarnate. Thus Paul’s greetings not only invoke the name of God but they identify him with Jesus Christ. Moreover Paul is the chosen embassary or Apostle of this Almighty God. Paul’s authority is not self-chosen but conferred, conferred by God the Father, thus to disagree with or to reject Paul is to reject God. Now it is that clear cut so that people who have over the centuries, because they don’t like Paul’s plain speaking, tried to separate Paul from Christ and from God the Father are not Christian. Very plainly Paul is identified with Christ and with God. For anyone to know or attempt to know God apart from Paul and the Bible is folly. Because he cannot be so known. God fully identifies himself with his word as given with Paul. Paul is the bearer of the word, of the authentic gospel. With this Paul suffers at Corinth and elsewhere, an ordinary pastor or missionary can suffer for his failings and short comings, but God had so identified himself with his apostle that we have here the authentic word of God given by inspiration. Therefore, as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, even so our comfort also aboundeth through Christ. [00:13:22]
All Christians to some degree suffer in Christ...
All Christians to some degree suffer in Christ. Hatred for Him, for Christ, falls on his people and they are resented because they represent another law set and another kingdom. Paul however suffers not only for Christ’s sake but also for the Corinthians, he tells us in verse six. To bring them a faith which separates them from the world incurs the enmity of the world as it transfers the Corinthians allegiance from Rome to Christ. From Caesar to Christ. All allegiance then a radical concept. Today when we speak of allegiance it does not mean too much to us except to say well, I’m in favor of this or that. But in New Testament times it meant being the property of the state and its ruler. If your allegiance was to Rome you were Rome’s property. In verse seven we see the difference in meaning between being a member of Rome and a member of the kingdom of God. In Christ we are made partakers of the kingdom, both in suffering and in comfort. Being partakers of this sense was alien to the pagan state, in Christ it is a personal relationship to Him, the great King over all kings. In verse eight Paul goes on to speak of his affliction in Asia at the hands of both believers and unbelievers. And that’s the sad part of Paul’s life. To suffer affliction at the hands of believers as well as unbelievers. It went so far that Paul despaired of life so oppressed was his every hour. In verses nine and ten he tells us that he had a sentence of death within ourselves. Now the precise meaning of sentence of death is not given. [00:16:44]
It could mean a legal death sentence or an inward anticipati...
It could mean a legal death sentence or an inward anticipation of being slain for the sake of the gospel. This sentence had as its goal to lead Paul to trust not in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. God is the raiser of the dead and he must be our mainstay, hope and trust. Throughout both Corinthian letters the resurrection stands as a constant reminder that our faith culminates in this remarkable and radical victory over sin and death. The resurrection is more than a future event, it is a present reality because of the risen Christ our Lord and a governing fact in all our lives as our certain future. We are the people of the resurrection and our future governs all of creation which is destined to be recreated to conform to the resurrection kingdom. In verse eleven supplication for one another is presented as a duty and an expression of faith. We have a requirement to pray one for another as not only our duty but as a mark of faith. Supplication for others is a duty and as Philip Hughes remarked, the duty of prayer is not a modification of God’s power but a glorification of it. Thus Paul begins his second letter and the theological level is awe inspiring. No doubt some cynical Corinthians derided it and called for the simple gospel, meaning a minimum of belief. Paul tells us how far reaching the gospel is in all its implications. We cannot reduce the gospel to our level without falsification. But this is what men too often demand, routinely of Christ’s ministries. And they insist on the simple gospel. Well, centuries ago saint Augustine had the answer to that when he said of the gospel and of all scripture: it is simple enough for a child to wade across and deep enough to drown an elephant. Too often when men go beyond the simple gospel it is in their thinking in terms of Platonism, or contemporary philosophies rather than in terms of Saint Paul’s radical faithfulness to the resurrected Christ. So what Paul has to offer to the Corinthians is not a simplified childish gospel but it is the whole council of God. And he presents it to them without compromise. He knows the contempt they will pour out on him but he also knows the duty is his to present the gospel without compromise. Let us pray. [00:22:00]
Our Lord and our God we give thanks unto Thee for this...
Our Lord and our God we give thanks unto Thee for this Thy word. We thank Thee that Thou hast given to us through Paul Thy word, Thy truth, Thy so great salvation. Give us grace to hear with hearing ears and to rejoice in the privileges that are ours in Christ Jesus. In His name we pray, Amen.
Now are there any questions about our lesson? Yes?
[Question] Why did Paul have to write two letters to the Corinthians?
[Rushdoony] Well, he wrote two letters first of all to sum up what he had to say when he went there, one by way of rebuke he had to deal with their waywardness. Then he left, making clear he was going to come again but found he could not come immediately so before his coming he wanted them to be reminded of what he had said and to rebuke them for their waywardness. Are there any other questions or comments?
Well if not, let us bow our heads in prayer.
Oh Lord our God we give thanks unto Thee that Thy word has been given to us. Thy truth made known to us, Thy so great salvation set forth in the life of our Savior, Jesus Christ Thy son. Make us ever joyful in Thee and mindful that whatever the grief’s and burdens that come our way, so too will the everlasting joy in victory in Jesus Christ our Lord. Strengthen us therefore in Thy service and make us triumphant in Jesus Christ. In His name we pray, Amen.